This is a Good Book Thursday, December 9, 2021

I’ve tried several new romances lately and find myself quitting about half way though and reading the last chapter instead. I’m trying to figure out why–it’s not like I don’t know how they’re going to end–and I think it’s the quality of the writing. I’m fine (great, actually) with comfort reads, but if there’s nothing challenging in the narrative then the writing had better be top notch. Meh stories with meh writing can’t hold me. Of course, I’m also reading Pratchett (went straight from Hogfather to Thief of Time) and Stuart, so my standard of comparison is very high. Characters who think each other funny when they’re not, Big Misunderstandings, love interests who smirk (I know, I know), and just plain blah writing–I know, shut up, Jenny, and read a different book. Fortunately I have Thief to finish and Krissie’s WiP and two books by Sondheim–everything’s going to be okay.

What did you read this week?

95 thoughts on “This is a Good Book Thursday, December 9, 2021

  1. Rereading, with comfort, Lefthanded Booksellers by Nix. Read several time travel novellas by Kelley Anderson; thank you Hoopla! Contemplating a reread of Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews.

    1. I keep coming back to Kate Daniels and Mercy Thompson all through the pandemic. I find each of their abilities to be able kick ass in their own worlds particularly comforting while I still feel so helpless in this one.

      Like, nothing makes sense with magic/werewolves and they still both figure it out and win in the end….so maybe in the end, I’ll figure out how to make my particular craziness make sense too.

  2. I finally started Fumiko and the Finicky Nestmate by Forthright. It’s wonderful. I am slightly in awe of how much advanced planning she did as an author to lead us to this point. I thought her previous books were noodling about in a loosely connected universe, sometimes finishing off a character’s storyline, but they are all woven together with clues from the beginning. It’s really impressive. You have to read her books in order, but they are all good and richly detailed with places I want to live, so that is ok.

    I am again looking for TV recommendations. Sex Education was very fun. The Good Place was great. I loved Schitt’s Creek. What else is worth watching on Amazon or Netflix?


    1. I’ve also read some meh romances lately and here are my two new pet peeves: winking (does anyone really do that??) which is actually more annoying than smirking, and MC’s whose sole feature is that they are Attractive. Point in case: I read the Keira Andrews’ Beyond the Sea and thoroughly enjoyed the first half because the MC’s were focussed on surviving on a desert island, which is always interesting IMHO, but then…they started focussing on romance and it should have been more interesting but just made me yawn and wish a new storm would come along to torture them into building some new shelter. I re-read Heated Rivalry immediately after in some defiance, because I wanted some CHARACTERS, dammit.

      I also read Alexis Hall’s For Real – enjoyed it and yet it wasn’t quite a home run. I’m going to try some other ones, as Jane suggested, to get a true flavour for his stuff.

      And I read The Larks Still Bravely Singing…that was LOVELY (thank you, Alexandra) and so I wandered down an Aster Glenn Gray path and read several of his other books, one of which called Honeytrap featured a lengthy road trip between an FBI agent and KGB agent who are partnering up to discover who tried to assassinate Krushchev….and that led me the two Soviet satirists who toured America in the 1930’s and wrote a unique perspective memoir about their travels badly translated as Little Golden America. It’s been an adventurous reading week, that’s all I have to say.

      1. For Real is a difficult book and definitely not his best. I really like his billionaire series, (very sexy, spoof on Fifty Shades of Grey) or Boyfriend Material, which is less sexy but very sweet. I guess I was just really drawn in by the characters and For Real helped me understand BDSM in a way that I hadn’t before. It’s usually not my kink. He jumps around a lot in his early work, which is kind of fun because you can see him getting tighter as an author over time.

        1. I did enjoy it but yes, BDSM not totally my thing. I loved Avon Gale’s Let The Wrong Light In about two men who kind of find themselves in a BDSM relationship but don’t really know what they’re doing and have to discover it? That sounds humorous but it’s not. A very unique book.

    2. Have you tried ‘Rita’ and ‘Call My Agent’ on Netflix? Oh, and ‘Never Have I Ever’ – which I must rewatch, since there’s now a second series.

        1. Try Living With Yourself on Netflix. Paul Rudd plays a sad sack who ends up with a re-energized, happier clone of himself – and then the two of them duke it out for control of ‘their’ life. The only thing better than Paul Rudd is…two Paul Rudd’s.

      1. Co-sign on Call My Agent being fun. And if it leaves you feeling French-y, I liked & would recommend Lupin too. (with the caveat that I hated how the first season was a cliff hanger…but season 2 is out now, which hopefully solves for that…although I haven’t watched that one yet to say for sure)

        Has anyone been watching “Y the last man”? I was intrigued by some of the reviews and the comic it was based on, but don’t know anyone who’s not a critic who’s watched/recommended it.

        But it sounded like potentially an interesting way of exploring the patriarchy…what would happen if there were basically no men? What fields/industries would function and flourish …and where would we be in trouble as a species because of women being historically shut out of those fields/industries , and therefore humanity losing critically important training/knowledge, etc.

        But…I want to know if it’s actually like that and worth the watch/think about, or just going to make me enraged instead of engaged.

        1. I loved the comic (haven’t watched the show, hardly ever watch anything) but it did not deal very much with the fields/industries aspect of the patriarchy. The emotional aspects, yes. Although we would be in enough trouble just having half the population die suddenly. Chaos ensues.

    3. Mrs. Maisel on Amazon is worth watching even just for the fashion.
      Plus Tony Shalhoub is fabulous in this.

    4. I’m enjoying the Wheel of Time on Amazon. Lots of female characters and the romance arcs include a lot of variety (avoids spoilers).

      The Korean rom-coms are the best options for romance that I’ve seen on Netflix.

      If you have HBO, I really liked Starstruck.

  3. I read The Joyeuse Guard, Marion G. Harmon’s latest entry in the Wearing the Cape series. It was more episodic than the previous ones, with no overarching plot. Plus most of the episodes were told from different character viewpoints. It was interesting, but not the sort of thing I’m especially fond of.

    I read High Jinx by Kelley Armstrong, the sequel to Cursed Luck. We find out more about Aiden’s family and there is trickery and treachery.

    Also Jingle Spells by Christine Pope, a novella in her Hedgewitch for Hire series (after 4 novels), the was pretty good and advanced the main storyline, her and Calvin’s romance, nicely.

    Risen by Benedict Jacka, the 12th and final book in his series about diviner Alex Verus. A good but intense conclusion.

    Next up is Family Business, the new Bill Smith/Lydia Chin mystery by S.J. Rozan. If you haven’t read them I recommend them highly. She is a 20-something Chinese-American private investigator in New York’s Chinatown, who teams up with a late 3o’s white private investigator to investigate because they both have contacts and access that the other one doesn’t. Both Lydia and Bill are great characters. Book one, Mandarin Plaid, is told from Lydia’s first person point of view and book 2 is told from Bill’s, and they alternate each book from there.

  4. I finished Gin’s Four Cat Night and Harmon’s Joyeuse Guard from last week. I started Wilde Christmas – Kindle says I’m 19% done. Finished 1637: The Coast of Chaos last night. Other than that, I cherry-picked parts of other books, looking for particular scenes or quotes.

    Official Weigh-in Day #34: 248.8, officially.

    Brought home some of my contributions to the work environment. Two cork bulletin boards, now adorning my walls. Appliances previously mentioned. Magazine baskets that were previously mounted in the bathrooms… I disinfected those. A 10-gallon trash can, made by brute, to take the place of a 30-gallon brute that blocked the sink in the lounge.

  5. I’m rereading Mary Balogh’s Survivor series, which are so-so rather than her best. But it’s a while since I last read them, and they’re soothing, if too pat.

    K. J. Charles has posted her annual round-up of recommended reads, which I think is where I discovered both A. J. Demas and Alexis Hall. This year she’s got some non-fiction, including a few history books she’s keen on:

  6. I have finally emerged from Andrea K Höst’s Touchstone series to read Trisha Ashley latest Christmas book, One more Christmas at the Castle, which was enjoyable but not as good as some of her other stuff so I am rereading my favourites. So far I have reread the Magic of Christmas and I am in the middle of Wedding Tiers. There are always many secrets and coincidences that stretch belief but her books are full of delighful characters and delicious food.

    1. Just finished her latest as well. Not her best work. I could predict where the story was going earlier on.

  7. I did not read anything I would recommend, but many of you might enjoy this interview with KJ Charles on romance genre and Georgette Heyer. I found it interesting and entertaining. You don’t need to have read her books (KJ Charles I mean, you won’t get much from it off you don’t know Heyer). It’s part of a queering Heyer panel, but actually was just about Heyer and romance in general, from about the 12 min mark anyway.

      1. PS. Jenny, I think you’d find her take on ‘The Reluctant Widow’ interesting: Francis Cheviot’s the real hero, and the novel’s about two minor characters; all the action happens off-stage.

        1. I have to listen to this. I’ve never liked The Reluctant Widow, so a new take on it would be good.
          OTOH, The Grand Sophy and The Talisman Ring will always be on my top romance list. Heyer is one of the reasons I started writing romance.

          1. I began to listen to the KJ Charles interview because I’m intrigued by the idea that Frances Cheviot is the novel’s protagonist. But I stopped when Charles said that Heyer needs to be corrected.

            I understand that Heyer’s world is sexist, racist, anti-Semitic, class conscious, paternalistic, anti-Scottish, and more. I think it’s fine if Charles wants “to queer” Heyer’s world. Also, Charles is welcome to write versions of Heyer’s world which are closer to the real history of the time (in the interview Charles emphasized Heyer’s distance from Regency history).

            I merely feel that Heyer deserves credit for the world she made. Ignore it; copy it; give it a slant. But Heyer doesn’t need to be fixed.

            The Reluctant Widow is one of my favorites. I like Eleanor’s directness on the one hand and her irony on the other — Lord Carlyon is the only person who grasps her sense of humor. He responds by playing the straight guy, a role he has learned from caring for his many younger siblings.

            Frances Cheviot, one of Heyer’s over the top characters, is active in the subplot that concerns the treacherous theft of a national secret.

            Okay, so I wish I’d listened longer to KJ Charles. I was annoyed.

          2. That would annoy me, too.
            It’s one of those “this isn’t the book I wanted to read, so I’m going to criticize it instead of talking about the book I read.” Heyer had a huge impact on the romance genre (and on me in particular) and yes there are things I wish she hadn’t written into her books (hell, there are things I wish I hadn’t written into MY books) but she definitely doesn’t need fixed.
            You want books that need fixed, look at what Anna Karenina, Madame Bovary, and The Scarlet Letter have done to women . . . oh, those are classics and aa product of their age and shouldn’t be changed? Damn right, so keep your cotton-picking fingers off of Heyer.

          3. Elizabeth, she does address this :). She is also absolutely effusive in her praise of Heyer – I took from it that she wasn’t saying Heyer needs to be corrected, per se, but that the histrom genre perhaps doesn’t need to stay confined exclusively to the ballroom world she created. That today’s writers can maybe broaden the fairytale picture of ‘Regency’ Heyer created.

          4. And now I read Allanah’s sane reply and think, “Oh.”
            Did anybody say today’s writers haven’t already broadened the Regency? The sex scene alone blew the doors off the historical. Loretta Chase modernized the genre awhile ago, not to mention countless others. I just don’t get the idea that Heyer confines anybody, there’s too much evidence to the contrary.

            This reminds me of the controversy on “Baby, It’s Cold Outside.” It is not a date rape song. They weren’t roofie-ing women in 1944. They drank like fish back then, but then we still do. Leave works of art (music, literature) in the context in which they were created. Argh.

          5. What Jenny said about Bovary, Karenina et al:
            I remember vividly how I hated reading Bovary. Also Effie Briest. But our teacher put the works firmly in their historical context, had us analyze it knowing what very limited scope women had back then. I still hated the novels but at least I understood them and their appeal at the time.
            Reading Bovary in a very ugly translation at least had the double bonus of making me aware of the importance of original vs translation (and the quality thereof).

  8. My new books last week were pretty disheartening.
    Carola Dunn’s The Miser’s Sister is one of her older regency novels, and it was very weak. I like this author’s later Daisy Dalrymple mystery series much better.
    Wilkie Collins’s Woman in White was a DNF. I know it is a classic. That’s why I wanted to read it, but gosh, it was so slow. I doggedly waded through its endless descriptions and pages of inner monologues, with all their Victorian tear-jerking mawkishness for a few days, but about 30% into the book, I finally had it enough and quit.
    Barbara Metzger’s The Luck of the Devil was a rather amateur attempt at regency romance, one of her earlier books (if not the first, I’m not sure). I regret the time I spent reading it.
    The only truly worthwhile reading experience was Lois McMaster Bujold’s The Hallowed Hunt. It was a powerful but dark-ish novel, and although it was a re-read, I read it first so long ago, it read like new now. It is considered #3 in the World of the Five Gods series, but I disagree. The action takes place at a different time, in a different place, and with all the different characters from the first 2 books, The Curse of Chalion and Paladin of Souls. Even though the world is the same, it is a stand-alone novel and has the same connection to the World of the Five Gods as all the Penric stories do. In fact it could be almost a prelude to Penric, although much darker and more intense than the light and optimistic Penric books.

    1. Yes, the Hallowed Hunt is very different. One of my favourite characters in it is the pregnant sorceress . I wish she had more space on the page.

      1. Now I have to recycle The Hallowed Hunt to the top of my reading list. The pregnant sorceress, whose name I’ve forgotten, stuck best in my mind for her interesting curse, “Dratsab! Dratsab!” (Bastard backwards.) For those not familiar with the Five Gods, They are Father, Mother, Daughter, Son, and the Bastard, born of the Mother and a great-souled demon.

        1. Oh, thank you, Gary! In many re-reads I never noticed that Dratsab was Bastard! [Glee!]

        1. I halfway expected, when Desdemona was listing previous riders in the very first Penric and Desdemona story, to have her on that list.

    2. Reading older books like Woman in White can be a challenge when you are used to the faster pace of contemporary writing. I always have to remind myself to slow down and try to enjoy the journey. I noticed that there was a TV adaptation of Woman in White not that long ago–that might be a more appealing way to experience the story.

    3. So sorry to hear you DNF’d The Woman in White – I love that book. So much soap opera!

    4. Olga, you are right about The Hallowed Hunt. It takes place well before the Penric stories which take place well before The Curse of Chalion and Paladin of Souls. I once tried to figure out the rough equivalency of dates: maybe Hallowed Hunt in the 12oos AD and Penric in the 1300s. Bergon and Iselle “match” Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain which brings us to the late 1400s. Fortunately, the characters are not at all the same, so we can hope that Bergon and Iselle were far nicer people and parents than Ferdinand and Isabella. In Penric and the Shaman a crucial point is resolved that was left dangling at the end of The Hallowed Hunt. (Similarly, Knife Children resolves a point that wasn’t answered at the end of The Sharing Knife books.)

      I like The Woman in White but I wouldn’t call it a classic. Difficult reading there.

      Finally, after your post last week about title references (Envious Casca) — I’ve never remembered the titles of Rex Stout’s Nero Wolf mysteries. I read them as a kid before I’d read classics, so I had no idea what the titles were referring to, such as the one called Some Buried Caesar.

      1. Some Buried Caesar is my favorite Wolfe, probably because Archie meets Lily in that one and has no idea she’s it for him. He’s always so confident and cocky and then she laughs at him and calls him Escamillo when he vaults the fence to get away from the bull, and he just doesn’t know what to do with her. I love that relationship even though it takes over a dozen books for Archie to stop playing around and just be with her. The fact that she’s so independent and has no interest in marriage is just icing on the cake. I love Lily.

        1. I’ve been reading all the Wolfe books because I started listening to a podcast about them that made me tender how much I enjoyed them as a teen. (Like the Wolfe)

          I’d forgotten, or maybe never realized at age 15, how great Lily is.

    5. THE HALLOWED HUNT is set chronologically a few centuries earlier than the CHALION books; sort of a 12th-century German feel rather than the definitely late 15th-century Spanish-ish setting.

  9. Halfway through CHINA RICH GIRLFRIEND, second book in Kevin Kwan’s trilogy that began with CRAZY RICH ASIANS. I find it a fun, light, well-written novel about a world (people who are rich on an epic scale) that’s totally alien to me.

    1. Total escapism. Not sure that I loved the book but I was certainly completely immersed in another world.

  10. This week I’ve overtired myself with cleaning out kitchen cupboards and polishing silver. (Silver is something families pass down to the next generation like blue eyes, a propensity to be overweight, and chronic diseases. Fortunately, times are changing and modern children have no room nor inclination for items that weigh a ton and require care, not to mention which carry an odor of privilege.)

    Anyway, I spent my exhausted evenings rereading books like Maybe This Time. I keep understanding the characters better when I return to them. I think the fact that Andi and North were unable to ask (more precisely, did not ask) each other for gifts/things during their first year of marriage explains partly why they divorced. Andi says they were too young. Certainly, they did not make concessions to being married; they acted as if they were the same people, just connected by a ring (which was seen differently by Andi and North) and plenty of passionate love.

    I finished rereading Maybe This Time the night before last so was bereft of a good book last night. My husband asked what was wrong with me. Sometimes a good read is necessary for my sense of well-being and enables healing. Hogfather, you suggest? Maybe I’ll go straight to Thief of Time.

        1. Teatime scares me too much. I’m the wimp who has never watched The Wizard of Oz straight through. The flying monkeys arrive and I run away.

          1. I think I was grown up before I realized that Toto got away. Teatime does not scare me as much, perhaps because Susan is so competent

  11. I recently discovered “The Windsor Knot” by SJ Bennett – where the Queen tries to find out who murdered a young Russian who stayed overnight at Windsor Castle, and why. She does this together with her Personal Assistant Rozie Oshodi, a young Black woman who first served in the Army in Helmand, Afghanistan. It’s one of the best books I’ve read in a long time so I quickly downloaded the follow-up, “A Three-Dog Problem”. I’m not quite finished yet but so far, it’s just as good as the first one. Now I’m looking forward to the third one.

  12. I read and enjoyed Catfishing on Catnet by Naomi Kritzer. I’ll look up the sequel one of these days.

    An old favorite, Astra, by Grace Livingston Hill, has not aged well (it’s from 1941 but seems even older). Christmas-themed and very Christian-oriented, the hero and heroine are both too good to be true, while the evildoers are easily vanquished by on-the-spot police. But I first read it as a pre-teen, and now I just enjoy it for a glimpse of an overly-simplistic, and probably mostly imaginary, time.

    One Perfect Rose by Mary Jo Putney has a duke, traveling incognito, who falls in with a group of traveling players. Though he has been diagnosed with a terminal condition, he falls for one of the actresses (she’s aware of his impending doom) and they try to make the most of what time he has left. It had well-developed characters, an interesting though far-fetched plot, and a satisfying conclusion.

    I listened to After Sundown by Linda Howard and Linda Winstead Jones. Audiobooks are not really my thing, and the reader on this had a slight robotic tone to her voice. But this is a good story (solar flare from the Sun fries power grids around the world) and seems like a fairly realistic take on how that situation would devolve. Of course there’s a romance, but it’s less front-and-center than usual.

    1. My mother and her sister lived in Valdez, Alaska, during the last of the Depression and just before WWII, and they read their way through the local library. It had a LOT of Grace Livingston Hill books, and Mother said they’d find the next one and DNF it with the cry, “Saved again!”

      Grace did write several pretty good historical novels, which are definitely Sweet but set in the 1830’s and 40’s in upstate New York. She had an aunt who’d lived through those years — or possibly whose parents had — who proofread and corrected any historical bloopers. MARCIA SCHUYLER, PHOEBE DEANE, DAWN OF THE MORNING, and MIRANDA. DAWN is a standalone, but the other three have linked characters, and I seriously enjoy Miranda the character.

  13. This week I read 8 short things, about 10% of a book I should never have even downloaded (what was I thinking: male nanny + 28yo genius doctor single mother of twins, so much anti-catnip there. Brain locked up on me, obviously), 4 holiday-themed M/M novels, and one more M/M novel; nothing terrible except the one I DNFd, but nothing was a total win for me except two of the shorts.

    First of those was ‘The Snails of Dun Nas’ by K.L. Noone, a folktale reimagined, featuring a barbarian and a half-fairy witch with knife skills.

    ‘If Only In My Dreams’ by Keira Andrews was the strongest of the holiday material, a road-trip novella.

    Another book that begins with a road trip (‘Winter Wonders’ by Leighton Green) tripped over a few Australianisms; it’s set in the US and some word usage stood out. Also she has one of the main characters driving cross country from L.A. and taking seven days to do it. I’ve done it myself in four, so, you know. 🙂 There was another 28yo genius doctor, which irritated me because I felt the only reason to have him be so young was to excuse the way he was cowed by his parents. And it would have been more of an obstacle – a thing to be overcome in the relationship – if he were e.g. 34 and still cowed by his parents. Also the other character’s situation would’ve been more Actual Crisis and less Still A Beginner So What Did You Expect with a few more years on him. Yes, cranky old person here. I would probably have liked this book more in a different mood, was feeling a smidge unforgiving.

    1. I find 28 year-old genius characters SOOOO frustrating. It seems too often to be a short cut way for the author try to have the character have experience/competence but is unwilling to make the character a sensible age.

      I’m still angry about a read in which the heroine was supposed to have: dropped out of school for a few years, gone back to school, gotten her PhD on field research that would have required at least two field seasons, and become a tenured position at a high profile university by … 28. No. Way.

      1. THANK YOU. I couldn’t tolerate the premise behind Doogie Howser, so though my cousins enjoyed the show, I just ground my teeth.

  14. Thank you to Marian for mentioning “Saving Paradise: How Christianity Traded Love of this World for Crucifixion and Empire.” DH loves that kind of stuff and is really enjoying the book.

    I enjoyed “Well Met,” a Ren Faire romance by Jen DeLuca, mentioned on several Good Book Thursdays. “Well Played,” the second in the series, has serious pacing issues and a Big Misunderstanding that I didn’t like. But the world and the community are appealing enough that I’m on the library waitlist for “Well Matched.”

  15. TWENTY MILLION TONS UNDER THE SEA, by Daniel Gallery. I don’t know that I’d really call it comfort reading, but I’ve always been interested in WWII submarines, especially as my mother worked on them. I’ve read, I think, all of Daniel Gallery’s books, and will note that the star submarine of this one, U-505, is now a museum exhibit at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago (along with Colleen Moore’s Fairy Castle and the world’s largest pinball machine).

    A TASTE OF HISTORY COOKBOOK , by Walter Staib. who operates City Tavern in Old City Philadelphia , with the goal of creating an authentic eighteenth-century dining experience. Apparently he also has a television program, A TASTE OF HISTORY (I’ve never seen it), and this cookbook has the recipes and step-by-step instructions, to successfully re-create the historic fare in the modern kitchen. He tweaks dishes to allow them to be used in ways the eighteenth century diners didn’t, such as appetizers and green salads.

    THE LYMOND POETRY, compiled by Dorothy Dunnett, contains about a quarter of the assorted poems and songs referred to in the Lymond books, where everyone is improbably widely and eclectically read! They’re in their original form — Scots, medieval French, Latin, occasionally English, a couple in very medieval English indeed — with translations where Dorothy Dunnett thought they might be needed. My only complaint is that the book doesn’t include everything! A very specialized anthology.

    Still working through several books on tableware to improve the December logic puzzle . . . .

    1. I know I have read something Gallery wrote about the U-505, but that is not one of the titles my father owned, so where…?

      1. TWENTY MILLION TONS was also published under the title U-505, and one I hadn’t seen before, WE CAPTURED A U-BOAT. Either sound familiar?

    2. That submarine in the Chicago museum is utterly fascinating. You can go on tours of it, which I highly recommend. I ended up writing a kids’ book set on a submarine as a result of one of those tours.

  16. I just read the Golden girls getaway by Judy Leigh. The characters are much older women who live in the same apartment building and end up driving through much of northern England and Wales in a motorhome. It is a comfort read in many ways but there were some interesting aspects that I really enjoyed. Frankly I have also read too many other books that get boring in the middle and I really don’t want to finish them.

  17. I liked to play cards in Alpha, Ohio with Hershey, Music and others. Teaching at FJH wasn’t bad either.

  18. I’m catching up on some romances from authors I haven’t read before. This week was “Fix Her Up” by Tessa Bailey (99p on kindle in the UK). And now “In a Holidaze” by Christina Lauren (also 99p). A nice balance of entertaining fluff and depth for someone with a cold that wants to stay indoors until Spring.

  19. Through an odd coincidence/library holds coming in, I read five (six?) books in first-person in a row. A couple of them were alternating first-person with the two main characters. Very odd, since it’s not normally my favorite, but to have so many one right after another was definitely a bit much, and probably contributed to my not liking several of them. NOT a coincidence–the ones I didn’t like all ended with a pregnant/baby epilogue.

    So I read Loretta Chase’s Ten Things I Hate About the Duke to make myself feel better (I was saving it for the holiday break), and I loved it. She rarely lets me down. Now I’m reading Miss Moriarty, I Presume by Sherry Thomas, which I’m enjoying. Then I’m off to start The Hogfather.

    1. I loved Ten Things I Hate About the Duke and the other novel in that mini-series whose title escapes me now. Really hoping there was a third coming up. (ETA: Evidently yes, some times in 2022, which is only twenty days away which doesn’t seem possible.)

      Oh, the first one is Duke in Shining Armor. Runaway Bride story about two exasperated people. I love Loretta Chase.

      1. Yay! I’m hoping the third one will be Alice and Blackwood’s (was that his name?) story, not least because they’re already married, and I want to see Chase’s spin on it.

        2022 is 20 days away?!

  20. I seem to be reading Mary Balogh novels backwards. Probably because more recent ones were available in the library, while older ones were probably either stolen or read to death as paperbacks. I’m getting used to suddenly realizing that the MC in THIS one is the same as someone I’ve been hearing about as a happily married neighbor/friend of the MC in THAT one. And I may be completely wrong about this, but the Bedwyn family seems to be the most obnoxious group of people I’ve ever read about. And yet the novel I just read (“A Summer to Remember”) seems to be a prequel to an entire series about various Bedwyns.

    Naturally, I haven’t been able to find any of them, in any of the collection of used bookstores I’ve been visiting with an eye out for them. And said eyeballing was because they are apparently part of a series that Jane really liked, so I will track them down at some point.

    I continue to really like Balogh’s tendency to describe the interior thoughts of her main characters. She does it artfully, so you don’t get irritated at it, and you can experience the growing appreciation of one MC for the other as the book proceeds. I’m also seeing the value of introducing your MC in the first chapter — often on the first page.

    1. The Bedwyns are authentically arrogant, but fun. The best one is the last in the series, ‘Slightly Dangerous’. But they’re all worth reading.

      1. I should probably go back and reread them, since I’m having “sinking middle” problems with so many new books right now. I’ve got three this week that I’ve stopped reading, but not returned to the library, muttering to myself “I would really like to have read this book, but I don’t want to keep plodding through it.” Interesting characters, interesting settings, but about a third of the way in I keep getting bored.

      2. I agree completely with you Jane. I love that last one even though Christine didn’t seem like to me a very believable name for a regency heroine but then the Bedwyns have very odd names too.
        Of that series, I only really liked the first and last ones, I didn’t really feel like reteading the other (numerous) siblings stories.

          1. Well, thanks for all the input! I will continue to try anything that Jane highly recommends, and will prepare to bury my Bedwyn disdain. Balogh books satisfy me, and I never put one down as a dnf, or throw one at the wall.

  21. i find when i run to the end of a book, it’s usually due to “wordsmith gorge” .
    i was told this is rather common when publishers insist on long books they can stick high price tags onto. So, i guess if we are asked to read an extra two hundred pages it would be nice if the words danced off the page.

  22. I read a middle grade novel – Rabbit, Soldier, Angel, Thief by Katrina Nannestad – about a six year old Russian orphan who gets adopted by a group of Russian soldiers during WWII. Full of love, sorrow and kindness in a time of war. A really gorgeous story.

    Also reread Daddy Longlegs by Jean Webster. It holds up pretty well to modern reading, mainly because Judy, the protagonist, is stubborn enough to stand up to some of the rather suspect power dynamics of her benefactor. Her flowering and delight in the world when she leaves the orphanage is just lovely. I suspect my copy originally belonged to my mother.

    1. I always liked the sequel to Daddy Long Legs the best of the two of them – Dear Enemy is about Judy’s friend Sally, who takes on the running of the orphanage that Judy came from.

    1. According to the map a tornado passed a mile or two north of me, yet I saw no damage on my way to work (in the dark) this morning, or on the way home this afternoon. One tree down, some large branches here and there; that was all in twenty-six miles.

  23. I’m reading the new Trisha Ashley, One More Christmas at the Castle. For some reason, I especially love Christmas books set in the UK. And I love everything she writes, so I’m happy.

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